Speaking of photo editors, there are shareware products and also free photo editors as well. Our article today mainly focus on the free photo editors that can help you get the best out of your photos but at no cost. When searching the internet for the best free photo editor, no doubt there will be hundreds of entries come out in a few seconds. However, the problem is that you don’t have the time to try one after another, just to see which is the best one capable of doing the photo editing task you’re asking for. But don’t be over concerned, you don’t have to spend hours on that, because that’s job we do here. You just need to finish reading this article and then pick the one that fits you the best. Be informed that, as a photo editor free of charge, you cannot expect too many advanced features like the expensive paid products.

Content Sneak Peak

Section 1. Why we need a photo editor software

We take a lot of photos in our everyday life, with smartphones, tablets, point-and-shoot cameras, or DLSRs. However, not everyone is an experienced photographer, so the photos we’ve taken with whatever devices may come out not good enough, some may be overexposed, others may be blurred, and still others might contain too much noise. This is why we need a photo editor software to help us polish the photos for better quality.

Section 2. Top 5 photo editors free for desktops

In this part, we will introduce you the 10 best free photo editors designed for desktop computers running either Windows, macOS or Linux Operating System. For most of the time, desktop or laptop PCs are the most perfect working environments for editing photos.

2.1 Paint Tool

Whenever editing photos on Windows is mentioned, the first one coming across our mind is the classic built-in utility tool, the Paint. As a free photo editor software, the Paint tool offers you the very basic free photo edit features, like the Crop feature that allows to freely select a wanted part of your photo and crop off the rest part, the Resize feature allowing you to increase or decrease the photo dimension by pixel or percentage, the Rotate features that rotates a photo 90 degrees right/left, 180 degrees, vertically or horizontally.

Availability: only on Windows platform

2.2 Photos App

Photos App is another Windows built-in free photo editor software, but only on newer Windows versions from 10. Compared to the basic features covered by the Paint tool, the Photos App offers more advanced features, such as allowing you to add different types of filters to your photos, tweak light, color, clarity, and remove red eyes, and also automatically enhance your photos for better quality, etc. Apart from being a free photo editor software, the Photos is also a free video editor software as well.

Availability: only on Windows platform

2.3 Apple Photos

Windows has its native free photo editor software, so does macOS. Like its Windows counterpart, as a photo editor free, Apple Photos offers quite limited features, such as only a small range of filters and the lack of local adjustments, however, it still comes with some regular adjustment tools for you to crop, fix the over exposure, recolor and retouch your photos. And to be frank, those basic features do their jobs pretty good, to some extent, better than many other free photo editors out there. Besides, Apple Photos also offers seamless image sharing across all your Apple devices and pretty good image cataloguing and searching tools too. 

Availability: only on macOS platform

2.4 Ashampoo Photo Optimizer

Ashampoo is a pretty cool free photo editor that capable of automatically detecting dull colors for auto-correction, instantly correcting poor lighting, and automatically optimizing white exposure. Besides, as a free photo software, it also comes with an awesome editing feature for businesses and social media enthusiasts, the batch editing, which is seldom seen on a photo edit freeware. If you got piles of photos to be handled, then this could be an amazing time saver, as photo editing can be extremely time consuming.

Availability: only on Windows platform

2.5 IrfanView

Judging from its name, you may think IrfanView as a photo viewer software. As a matter of fact, it is more than that. It is also one of the widely popular photo editor free softwares that has a larger followers worldwide, thanks to its remarkable photo editing, managing, organizing, converting and retouching capabilities. Plus, it is designed with the philosophy of simplicity and user-friendliness for both rookies and seasoned pros.

Availability: on both Windows and macOS platforms

2.6 GIMP

Enjoying a high reputation among web designers and photographers, GIMP is considered as the best free photo editor software. It allows you to perform a lot of the stuff that usually only paid software products such as Photoshop can do, such as retouching, editing and restoring, even creating icons, graphic design elements and images. What’s more, as an open source project, GIMP is also be constantly evolved as thousands of developers in the GIMP ecosystem are extending its functionality by introducing new and exciting capabilities on a regular basis. No wonder it is rated as the best free Photoshop alternative as well.

Availability: on Windows, macOS and Linux platforms

2.7 Darktable

Unlike most of the other free photo editors that only offer limited features and functions, Darktable is a little bit different and ambitious. It offers an Adobe lightroom similar experience in terms of both UI design and feature sets. It allows you to import your photos into a database and offers the same kind of non-destructive editing tools. Despite the fact that it might not be as slick or powerful as Lightroom, but it is completely free. So, what else can we demand? After all, it’s a free photo editor that we’re talking about.

Availability: on Windows, macOS and Linux platforms

2.8 PhotoPad Photo Editor

PhotoPad Photo Editor is a fast and fun option for photo edit free of charge. It is considered as one of the most stable, easy-to-use, and comprehensive free photo editors available. However, being a free photo editor software does not fail it in offering quite a bunch of non-basic photo editing features, like the ability to touch up photos to remove blemishes and fix color, improve photo quality and focus with blur, sharpen the edges and reduce noise, adjust the color balance, exposure, levels, brightness, contrast and merge multiple exposures to create stunning HDR photographs, etc.

Availability: on both Windows and macOS platforms

2.9 PhotoScape

On the first look, it is quite easy to think that PhotoScape is just one of the most commonly seen free photo editors, but when you take a closer observation, you will soon understand that it is not. There are a wealth of features hiding beneath its main menu, including but not limited to raw conversion, photo splitting and merging, animated GIF creation, and even a rather odd (but useful) function with which you can print lined, graph or sheet music paper. Furthermore, it also offers pretty advanced filters as well, a good choice if you just want to make some quick sharpening or mild filtering to your photos.

Availability: on both Windows and macOS platforms

2.10 inPixio Free Photo Editor

Being specifically designed for Windows platform only and as a user-friendly product with easy to understand instructions, inPixio Free Photo Editor lets you add a wide range of impressive effects quickly and easily, choose from varied designs and frames to showcase the theme of your photos and crop or adjust brightness & contrast and make just about any modification. With its 90+ amazing filters, 100+ effects and the advanced cropping tool with rotation and horizon correction, you have all the freedom to make your photos as glowing as you can.

Availability: only on Windows platform

Section 3. Top 5 photo editors free online

If you are just going to make a few simple tweaks on your photos, choosing a free photo editor online is not a bad idea. After all, it does not require any installation on your computer, other than uploading your photos to the website for processing. In this section, we’ll list the 5 best free online photo editors for your consideration.

3.1 Pixlr

As an online free photo editor available right from your favorite browser, Pixlr provides a number of simple one-click functions and a relatively robust toolset for you to make quick changes to your photos without any hassle. It is super easy to use, and even contains online tutorials to guide you through the more complicated features. But do be aware that before you can utilize its myriad of features, you do have to sign up for the free service.

3.2 Fotor

The browser-based free photo editor Fotor is an excellent photo editing tool featuring extremely easy-to-understand user interface. Spec-wise, it offers a wonderful set of Smart Filters and effects, as well as an engaging photo collage tool, and can handle RAW files sweat free. Fotor also allows you to design business cards, social media images, posters, banners, documents, and invitations, which could be really handy to bloggers and digital marketers.

3.3 BeFunky

Featuring a variety of awesome elements to boost your photo quality, Befunky is simple in terms of operation, intuitive in terms of layouts, and efficient in terms of performance. Similar to the above-mentioned Fotor, Befunky also comes with many design elements allowing for intuitive creations on postcards, brochures, posters, slides for Powerpoint presentations, and invitations, etc.

3.4 PicMonkey

PicMonkey’s online free photo editor has everything you need to make wow-worthy photos. Its filters and editing tools allow you to optimize your photos, designs, and social media posts to the next level. Its sharpening, color adjustment and exposure adjustment features can help you to get the best out of your photos. And you only need a few clicks to change camera looks, tweak lighting, and add popular effects.

3.5 Photoshop Express

Adobe not only offers desktop softwares and mobile apps, but also browser-based free photo editor, and its named Photoshop Express, which is an excellent online photo editor packs some of the most widely popular features from its desktop siblings. Everything is immediately accessible no matter you have experience or not, and it requires no plugins as long as your browser is equipped with a Flash player. Simply drag and drop your photos into the browser to start your photo edit free.

Section 4. Top 5 free photo editors on mobiles

Nowadays we have more chances to take photos with our smartphones than ever before, thanks to the advancement of mobile camera technology. The greatest thing using smartphones to take photos is that, we can instantly share the photos on to social media platform. However, not all the times do we want to share our photos, especially when the photos are not good enough for sharing. When this happens, we need a photo editor software to polish these imperfect photos on the go right from our smartphones, and then share them a few minutes later. In this section, we will list the top 5 best free photo editors for either iOS or Android, hope there will be one for you.

4.1 Instasize

Available on both iOS and Android, Instasize is a free photo editor intentionally built for mobile photo editing. With a sleek and user-friendly design, it does not compromise on features and tools. Apart from the basic cropping and resizing, it also lets you manipulate exposure and brightness, tint and warmth, shadows and highlights, contrast, sharpness and saturation. Besides, Instasize also offers more than 130 professional-grade, photographer-inspired filters for you edit your photos with your imagination. Other useful features include the awesome beautification tools, unique borders, a collage creator and text editor.

Availability: on both iOS and Android

4.2 Snapseed

Snapseed is a Google-owned powerful photo editor app that packs a great myriad of robust features, which even have the capacity to take on those desktop free photo editors out there. Not only does it offer some standard presets for quick and easy edits, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to create your own photos from scratch. Other exclusive features this free photo editor software offers include an Ambiance function which automatically adjusts your photo color and contrast to your flavor, and a Healing function which eliminates parts of your photo that you would like to cut off.

Availability: on both iOS and Android

4.3 Aviary Photo Editor

Aviary Photo Editor is an iOS-only free photo editor software that enjoys high reputation among iOS community, thanks to the variety of photo editing tools and effects it offers, its clean and uncluttered interface, and its wealth of sharing options that make it a breeze for posting photos online. Aviary Photo Editor also contains more correction and enhancement tools than nearly any other iOS photo editor software on the market.

Availability: only on iOS

4.4 VSCO Photo Editor

This free photo editor app offers a set of stunning filters that you can use to make your photos look like they were taken on an analog film camera. These soft and subtle filters, adjustable via a simple slider, add a touch of class to your photos compared to many heavily filtered Instagram presets. It also packs all the basic editing features, like cropping, borders, vignettes and adjustments on exposure, contrast, temperature and skin tones.

Availability: on both iOS and Android

4.5 Prisma Photo Editor

The game-changing feature of this free photo editor software is its artificial neural networks which allows you to make photos look like they were painted by Picasso, Munch, or even Salvador Dali. And similar to many others, Prisma also offers a generous set of free filters for you to experiment with. Another convenient feature is that after you are done with the editing, you can save the polished photos on your device, or directly share them on your social media platform.

Availability: on both iOS and Android

Section 5. Final Thought

After going through so many free photo editors, you may want to ask, what should I take into account when choosing the best one for me? Well, the answer to this question might differ from one individual to another. But generally, when choosing a photo editor free, the first thing you need to consider is your level of confidence and experience.

If you simply want to make a few adjustments, such as removing blemishes and improving colors, then a simple online free photo editor like Pixlr might be enough for you. However, if you are more inclined for much advanced editing features, then it is recommended you turn your attentions to desktop free photo editor software that offers tools such as layers and masks, giving you full control over the process. On the other hand, desktop software is also a good choice if you want to batch process your photos to save you an enormous amount of time.

Among our recommendation list, PhotoPad Photo Editor has the capacity to serve as the best free photo editor either for Windows or macOS platform, both in terms of feature sets and user-friendliness. And when it comes to the best photo editor free for browsers, Pixlr can definitely take the throne. As for the best photo editing software free for mobile platforms, Intasize might be your best shot, either on iPhone, iPad, or any Android devices.

Section 6. Best AI-powered Photo Editor Software

All being said, however, if you are a heavy user who needs to handle photo editing tasks at a regular basis, then on top of features and functionalities, performance efficiency might be your second priority, as polishing photos can be tedious and boring. This is why at the end of this article, an extra recommendation is necessary.

DVDFab Photo Enhancer AI, the best AI-powered photo editor software might be worth your attention. It can automatically perform all the photo polishing tasks for you in a matter of seconds, including enlarging photo resolution by up to 40 times without quality loss, reducing all types of noise, and removing all the blurs. It even allows you to optimize your photos for DSLR level only by one click.

Although not a free photo editor software, it does offer you 30 days’ time in order for you to fully test its prowess, before making a purchase at its online store.